Ahwazis protest at Iran regime’s environmentally disastrous policies, water shortages, power cuts, crippling poverty and unemployment
Thousands of Ahwazis on the 13th, 14th and 15th of February took part in massive organised rallies outside the governor’s building in the Ahwaz capital.
The demonstrations in Ahwaz are gaining momentum after large numbers of ordinary people, together with various civil society groups, took part in protests that are rapidly spreading across cities and villages throughout the region.
The protestors demand the dismissal of the current governor of Ahwaz region, Gholamreza Shariati, who they accuse of being a powerless puppet, installed by the Iranian regime to govern the Arab region of Ahwaz in its interests.
The regime’s top officials, specifically Masoumeh Ebtekar, the head of Environmental Protection Organization, continue evading the questions raised by protestors, who demand to know what steps will be taken by the state to resolve the unfolding environmental disaster in Ahwaz.
According to local sources, electricity has been cut off in at least eleven cities, among them Ahwaz, Abadan, Muhammarah, Hamidiyeh, Bowie, Bandar-e Mahshor (Mahshar), Hendijan, Falahiyeh, Howeyzeh, as well as throughout the counties of Karoon and Bowie. Protestors also expressed their anger at the rampant poverty and unemployment that afflicts the people of Ahwaz; unemployment is a scourge that cripples the people. The overwhelmingly young demographics of the population, and the fact that these young people are grappling with joblessness, destitution, and ballooning food prices, adds fuel to the volatile mixture of political and personal discontent that has exploded against the government.
The discontent of irate Ahwazi Arab citizens is taking expression in front o
f the regional Governor’s building, in the capital Ahwaz, in protests against accumulated grievances, including routine cuts in the supply of water and electricity, and in the protesters’ angry chants that these shortages are largely attributable to the regime’s policies, and its negligence in the face of these escalating crises. Several participants in the rally expressed their resentment at what they described as a shameful disregard and deliberate neglect by the state of Iran toward the lives of Ahwazi Arab citizens. They pointed to the fact that Iranian State authorities only visit Ahwaz, but never offer any tangible solutions to combat the environmental and health disasters that are ravaging the lives of millions of Ahwazi citizens.
Yesterday, the regime’s security forces responded by unleashing a brutal crackdown against the peaceful protests, spilling blood in the streets. According to the local media and activists, another Ahwazi protestor, Kazem_Maniaat, was shot dead by the Iranian security forces in Falahiyeh city, south of Ahwaz capital, raising the number of casualties since the outbreak of the protests there to two dead and dozens injured. Many more have been arrested.
On Friday, protests erupted following the apparently random fatal shooting of an unarmed young Ahwazi man, Hassan Alboghobesh.
The murder of Hassan Alboghobesh, who was shot in the head by a member of the Iranian security forces as he walked along a street in town, is the latest in a spate of killings of civilians across the region by regime security personnel. Kazem_Maniaat, who took part in the protests that ensued, was shot in the neck, and after two days in an intensive care unit in the hospital, died Monday evening.
The regime sent military and security reinforcements to the town in an effort to crush the protests and impose a curfew. Heavily armed personnel now patrol the area. No Iranian or international human rights organisations have issued any statement condemning the latest regime crimes against Ahwazi citizens, and this silence helps to underline the need for greater international awareness of the regime’s brutal injustice towards the Ahwazi Arab people.